Chef Susanne Berne's Ginger Cake with Poached Pears, Dark Rum Zabaglione and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

CTbites Team

In our ongoing hunt for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert, we sought out Chef Susanne Berne, who is, quite simply, one of the finest pastry chefs around. When she is not imagining treats for Match Restaurant, she is developing new ideas for Donut Crazy's doughnut lineup. She has shared her recipe for Ginger Cake with Poached Pears, Dark Rum Zabaglione and Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Enjoy!

Ginger Cake with Poached Pears, Dark Rum Zabaglione and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Makes one 9” cake

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Molasses
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Orange juice
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 2½ Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees.  Butter and Flour a 9” cake pan.
  2. In a bowl combine sugar, molasses, olive oil, water, eggs, vanilla and fresh Ginger. Whisk the Ingredients together one to two minutes until very smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and Cinnamon.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet with the whisk. Stir continuously until all the ingredients are combined and the mix is smooth.
  5. Pour all of the batter into the cake pan and bake 25-35 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean
  6. Allow the cake to cool 10-15 minutes then unmold while still warm.

Poached Pears

  • 5 bosc pears
  • 3 Cups sugar
  • 3 Cups water
  • zest and juice from 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla Bean split
  1. In a small pot combine sugar, water, orange and vanilla bean. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce to low heat.
  2. Peel pears, cut in half and use a melon baller to remove the core. Place the pears into the pot with simple syrup.  The pot should barely be at a boil. Gently stir the pot every 15 minutes to rotate the pears. Cook the pears until a knife easily pierces through, approximately 1 hour.
  3. Remove the pears from the syrup and place on a cookie tray to cool, do not discard syrup.
  4. Once syrup and pears are cool, place the pears back into syrup and refrigerate.

Dark Rum Zabaglione

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Goslings Dark Rum
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. In a bowl whip the heavy cream until light and fluffy, set in the refrigerator.
  2. Set a pot of water on the stove at a low heat. In a heat proof bowl combine egg yolks and sugar. Place the bowl onto the simmering water and whisk 10 – 15 minutes until the mix is thick and pale yellow. Remove from the heat and add the rum.
  3. Gently fold the reserved whipped cream into the egg mixture.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  1. Whip all the ingredients together until cream holds a soft peak
  2. Reserve in refrigerator until ready to use 

When ready to serve.

Use a serrated kitchen knife slice the cake into 10 slices. Place a slice of cake onto each plate. Spoon the Zabaglione onto the cake, using a kitchen torch gently caramelize the Zabaglione. Spoon on some of the cinnamon whipped cream and add the poached pear half.

This cake can also be served warm and paired with gelato, my personal favorite is rum raisin.



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